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story.lead_photo.caption Fulton High School students Haisley Windsor, Paige Key and Jay Vegiard join KFAL's Steve Mallinckrodt live on the air. Fulton Public Schools held penny drives to help raise money toward the Callaway County United Way kickoff. Photo by Quinn Wilson / Fulton Sun.

Fundraising for local agencies kicked off Friday at Memorial Park.

The Callaway County United Way held its 20th annual United Way Day & Radiothon on Friday at Memorial Park. The event serves as a fundraiser for the 12 nonprofit organizations United Way supports in Callaway County.

"This event kicks off our 2020 United Way campaign to raise money for our 12 agencies in town," said Megan Prenger, executive director of the Callaway County United Way.

The 2020 goal is to raise $270,000. As of early Friday afternoon, the agencies had raised more than $40,000 through a radiothon and selling T-shirts and food. The event also featured a bounce house for children, an auction, a clown show, face painting, crafts, an evening car show and much more.

Fulton Public Schools made big contributions to the fundraising effort as well. Each of the schools held penny drives, and McIntire Elementary raised more than $1,000 for the event.

Three students from Fulton High School came to the event with the money they helped raise. Senior Jay Vegiard said the students held penny drives every day and were able to raise $1,300.45.

"It's a very powerful thing. Any money that we raised is going somewhere to help somebody," Vegiard said.

Vegiard and his classmates Paige Key and Haisley Windsor all had the opportunity to speak live on the airwaves with KFAL's Steve Mallinckrodt about the money they raised. The radio station set up at the event to help spread the word.

The 12 organizations the United Way supports include Callaway County 4-H, the Callaway County Senior Center, Heart of MO CASA, Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence, Compass Health, Inc., Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, Homemaker Health Care, Callaway County Extended Employment, Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Our House and SERVE.

In order to receive funds from the United Ways, representatives from each organization needed to volunteer at the event. Susan Lutton, executive director of Mid-Missouri Legal Services, a nonprofit that supplies free legal services to victims of domestic and sexual violence, emphasized the importance of being funded by the United Way for the past 20 years.

"This has a big impact on us. It directly pays our attorney's salaries with it," Lutton said.

Callaway County United Way President Jacque Brazas explained various businesses in Fulton run employee campaigns, which raise a significant amount of money for the organization. According to Brazas, the Ovid Bell Press, Callaway Bank and Central Bank all run their own employee campaigns.

"Today was kind of our kick off, and throughout the fall, we will collect pledges and funds. We will host a Santa breakfast event in the first Saturday in December, and then we will host an event in the spring as a 'thank you' and to also give out our money in 2020," Brazas said.

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